Trvlbees

Something that we love about our TRVLBEES community is experiencing the power of like-minded traveling parents coming together to give each other tips for the best kid-friendly hideaways, whether they are about stylish accommodations, things to do in the area, or simple good-to-know’s.

Charlotte’s favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting wonder-mum Charlotte Burgoyne, co-founder of Little Voyageurs – a travel community for parents, similar to TRVLBEES – and chatting with her about her favorite kid-friendly hideaways. To inspire you even more, we’ve included some of our personal favorites, too.

You are a true citizen of the world. Born and raised in France, living in the US for several years, and now based in Algiers. Can you tell us something about your life journey?

“I remember being 12 years old, staring at the sea from the back of a sailing boat and thinking “the world is my oyster, and my home.” I got this all-engrossing feeling that I would never want to stay in one place for the rest of my life. To me, discovering new countries and adapting to unfamiliar cultures is the most amazing way to grow and get to know yourself.

Charlotte’s favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte

When I graduated from journalism school in Paris, I decided to launch my career in the field right away and moved to Syria. I started freelancing for French media from Damascus, and gradually from the entire Middle East. I LOVED it. A few years later, I changed my base to Yemen, doing the same thing, and ended up meeting my husband there.

We continued our journey in the region for several years, after which we decided to move back to the US to start our family. With kids, my thirst for other places grew faster than ever. I remembered thinking that I would never live in my birth country again, because the world is simply too big, and there is too much out there to explore. Being able to combine my lifestyle and work with my blog, City Guides and Instagram Little Voyageurs, encourages me even more to continue down this path.”

TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaway – Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Ojai Valley Inn, USA

We’re firm believers in a travel community for parents who share the best kid-friendly hideaways. Do you see any difference with TRVLBEES? And where do you see Little Voyageurs in five years from now?

“I believe that parents need more than an amazing accommodation for a successful family vacation. A comfortable and stylish stay definitely sets the foundation for a delightful trip for the adults, but how suitable are certain destinations and accommodations for kids? And how are parents supposed to obtain stylish and authentic advice to eat out, play, and discover a place with the whole family? The TRVLBEES team truly simplifies this process and, more importantly, makes it enjoyable!

Parents become part of an inspiring and nurturing community that is open to parents of all kinds, whether they are experienced or inexperienced travellers, and whether they are completely clueless, or know exactly what they want to get out of a vacation. Everyone’s welcome! And that’s exactly what community and travel should be about. Parents are ‘spoon-fed’ a bunch of amazing destinations, homes away from home, and, with all the tips and advice they receive from the TRVLBEES website and community, they have practically nothing to worry about.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

What’s your fav travel destination with your kids?

“I absolutely adore Portugal because it checks almost every box. You can easily combine an urban trip and a nature-centered escape in a week. I suggest heading to exciting Lisbon for a short city trip, and then venturing along the renowned coast, where you’ll find countless beautiful sights, surf hotspots, cafe’s, markets and so on.

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

The food, first and foremost, is fantastic. The people are remarkably welcoming to families, and you’ll never feel out of place with (agitated) toddlers. In terms of accommodation, I’d recommend The Martinhal, which is actually one of my favorite kid-friendly hotel collections in the world. We had a wonderful stay!”

TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Casa Mae
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Craveiral Farmhouse
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Vila Monte Farmhouse,

TRVLBEES focuses on family-friendly, conscious, and stylish hotels and hideaways, so let’s talk. In terms of family-friendly, what are you looking for when planning your own family holiday? Any must-haves?

“As I mentioned, the accommodation is key to a successful trip. Of course, every child and family is different, but typically, when you break your routine with kids, you need to feel at home somehow in order for your kids to feel comfortable too. Your stay is, thus, really important.

First of all, I always make sure that the setup of the rooms suits my family. Ideally, we need connected rooms or a suite with a closed area for the kids. Not only is that fun for them, but being able to have some peace and quiet with my husband after the kids’ bedtime is also important for us as parents. After all, we are on holiday too! Remember, it’s no shame to grant yourself some well-deserved down-time. 

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte

In terms of other amenities, I always try to pick a place that allows for boundless relaxation, that means comfortable beds, lounge areas, a good pool; just somewhere where both kids and parents instantly feel ‘zen.’

On the other hand, considering that you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to select a destination and accommodation that have plenty on offer in terms of activities. Can we rent a car to explore the area? Can the kids take a surf-, cook-, or even dance lesson? Is there a kids’ pool? A playroom? Is there a spa and gym on site (for the parents)? You name it! Luckily, the TRVLBEES collection is versatile when it comes to these things.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

In terms of stylish, how does this category apply to you? How would you describe your ideal ‘boutique’ stay? What should a boutique stay entail?

“Stylish stays are very important to me, and they are, in fact, the only kind of accommodation I feature in our City Guide. The aesthetic of a place is as important to me as its kid-friendliness. Part of a great vacation is the feeling that you’re escaping from home. Not because you resent your own home or daily life, but because you allow yourself to immerse in some luxury and stay at a place whose interior you’ve fantasized about.

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

You don’t go on holiday every week, so when you do, you want to be ‘wowed’ by a destination and the accommodation you’re staying at. You want and deserve to feel a little ‘spoiled.’ For a stay to be “boutique,” I consider the number of rooms, the type and quality of services, and the general ambiance.”

In terms of consciousness, how important is this to you and your family? Do you consider a hotel’s / hideaway’s social and environmental footprint when booking?

“Of course! It’s always a nice addition to our family trips, knowing that we’re staying at an eco-friendly place and thereby minimizing our impact on our surroundings. With the world facing a climate crisis, it’s – perhaps now more than ever – incredibly important to continue enjoying your travels, but doing so in an environmentally-conscious way.”

What would you consider the top 3 TRVLBEES stays (hotel/villas/B&B’s) that you’ve visited as a family?

“I adored Haus Hirt in Austria, and not just because of its amazing views of the renowned Alps landscape. This is a place where both children and adults will feel at rest the moment they enter the boutique hotel. It’s sleek and stylish, but also incredibly cozy; a perfect combination of modern and classic with every Austrian luxury within reach.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria

“We had to pinch ourselves a couple of times to make sure the Ekies All Senses Resort was real. We crushed on every detail in the hotel, starting with its fantastic location: an authentic, raw, and truly breathtaking part of Northern Greece. You will love the earthiness of the surrounding pine trees, combined with the iode of the sea.

The kids will definitely enjoy spending time at the well-equipped kids club, or otherwise soaking in the retro-chic ambiance of the pool. This place triggers all of your senses, most remarkably, with its 6 restaurants serving fresh and locally produced goods.”

“The stunning 4-hour drive from Athens – through mountains, wildflowers, and fig trees – was totally worth it. This one is a gem! The Kinsterna Hotel Monemvasia is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and citrus trees.

You will spend your days relaxing at one of two marvelous swimming pools or at the exciting outdoor playground. The beach and several historic Greek sights are just around the corner. I doubt you’ll get bored here!”

Last summer, you visited New York and Cape Cod. Our TRVLBEES members would love to hear the ‘What to do’s’ and ‘Where to stay’s’. Please spill the beans and let us in on your best tips!  

“In New York, I would start the day by a brunch at Dimes and its stack of bright green matcha pancakes, check out the funny curiosities that radiant Chinatown has to offer, head for a restorative stroll on the High Line, spend one hour vintage shopping at the Soho Market, and another one at Camp, the newest family concept store in a town filled with kids’ entertainment.

After a full city day, I would cross the Brooklyn Bridge and rest your little heads on the soft pillows at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge or in a family Suite at the NU hotel.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA

“The best way to enjoy Cape Cod is to rent one of the many houses lost in the woods for a week. This will give you just enough time to check all these must do’s and see’s. Ride a bike along the Cape Cod National Seashore until Coast guard beach, take a swimming class at Great Pond, chase crabs and watch the tide roll in and out at First Encounter Beach, drive around the Provincetown’s dune, and catch a movie at the Wellfleet drive-in theater.”

More travel inspiration? View more member stories.

In this Toronto Guide Travelbee, Amanda Blakley, travel journalist & editor at Crumb, lets you in on her recommendations as a local of things to do in Toronto with kids.

Toronto, like many great urban centers, is a city of neighborhoods. People always comment on how diverse our culture and citizens are – and it’s true. Toronto is definitely a melting pot. You can have an authentic dim sum breakfast in Chinatown, a Bangladeshi curry for lunch in Little India and follow that up with a proper Italian feast (in one of two Little Italy’s no less!). There are just so many things to do in Toronto with kids.

Things to do in Toronto with kids, trvlbees amanda blakleyTravelbee, mom and travel journalist Amanda Blakley

Our weekly Toronto tends to stay within a small radius, however we love to use the weekend as an excuse to be explorers and adventurers in our own town. Becoming parents has definitely helped us to appreciate our city through a new lens. It’s amazing how many things there are to do in Toronto with kids.

 

WHAT TO DO

1. Evergreen brickworks 

A former quarry and brick factory in the geographical center of our city is now home to this Eco-friendly, community and cultural center. This charity devotes their days to restoring the local flora and fauna in an urban environment. Visitors can enjoy the naturalized ponds, gardens, market, gourmet restaurant, greenhouse and programming – all on site.

Things to do in Toronto with kidsEvergreen brickworks

We usually go on Saturday mornings to hit the Farmer’s market for local fare, fruit and produce, as well as some delicious snacks made-to-order by various vendors. After we’ve stocked up on necessities, we grab our favorite coffee from Cafe Belong, browse the greenhouse for new plants or visit the children’s garden for some nature play. They recently introduced workshops for families that we plan on checking out – foraging for wild edibles caught our interest.

Things to do in Toronto with kidsWorkshop Evergreen brickworks

2. Ward’s Island 

Just off the Toronto harbour lie the beautiful Toronto Islands, a cluster of three Islands. All are just a short boat or ferry ride from downtown. Wards Island is residential and has rows of beautiful colonial homes, a beach and our favorite little eco restaurant called The Island Cafe. Here they incorporate some of their homegrown produce into their dishes. Fun fact: The islands comprise the largest urban car-free community in North America.

Things to do in Toronto with kids, family friendly restaurantsThe Island Cafe

3. St Lawrence market

This is a fun destination any time of year. With 120 specialty merchants carrying everything from spices to seafood, meat, produce, cheese and delicacies – it’s our top choice to hit when prepping for a dinner party or to grab an interactive lunch.
Tip: Hit any of the large cheese boutiques and sample your way around their offerings. It’s one of our favorite things to do at the market.

Things to do in Toronto with kidsSt Lawrence market

4. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)

A must-visit Toronto cultural institution. A recent Frank Gehry overhaul of the building has made this an architectural gem as well as a fine art emporium. There is a children’s den downstairs that is stocked with all kinds of art supplies, costumes and books.

Things to do in Toronto with kids, MOCAAGO

5. Kensington Market 

An eclectic and diverse neighborhood densely packed with independent grocers, fishmongers, fruit stands, butchers, bakers and the like. Located in the downtown core, it is certainly a colorful feast for all the senses. There are tons of amazing little cafes, juice bars, vintage clothing boutiques, independent coffee shops, record stores and innumerable ethnic cuisines. Kensington is also known for its light-hearted Rastafarian culture. Great things to do in Toronto with kids – for sure!
Be sure to check out Pedestrian Sundays when the roads are closed to cars the last Sunday of every month from May to October.

6. ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

This is one of our favourite museums with the kids. The place to enjoy art, world culture and natural history. It is one of the largest museums in North America and the largest in Canada.

Things to do in Toronto with kids, ROMROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

7. Trinity Bellwoods Park 

If Central Park had a scruffy, hipster little brother, this would be him. In the summer it is so densely packed with picnic blankets and merry-makers you’ll be lucky to find a square-inch. However, you’ll be glad when you do, as the people watching and mood is contagious.

Things to do in Toronto with kids, Trinity Bellwoods Park playgroundTrinity Bellwoods Park playground

8. Terroni

A Toronto institution, Terroni is a chain of Family run Italian trattoria’s and Osteria’s. They have more in common with chic Napolese eateries than your run-of-the-mill-Pizzeria. Using only the freshest ingredients imported from Italy, delicious (rare) Italian wines, house made pastas and wood-oven pizzas, they are ever so kid-friendly (those Italians sure know how to embrace and celebrate the joy of the famiglia). Our favorite location is in Summerhill and in the spring/summer and early Fall we love to sit up on their rooftop patio. The views of the city are top!

Things to do with kids in Toronto, Terroni rooftop terraceTerroni rooftop terrace

9. Moca

The brand new Museum of Contemporary Art is an amazing stop for anyone with kids of any age. The main floor has a gorgeous cafe and permanent display of interactive works by Andreas Angelidakis. Like life-sized padded building blocks where kids can build mega forts, obstacle courses and climbing gym.

10. The Drake sky yard 

A hipster-hangout in the west end of the city. The Drake is a much lauded boutique hotel, restaurant, bar and self-proclaimed, “hotbed for culture”. We love eating on the rooftop patio in the summer. Now that this neighbourhood has become gentrified the hipsters are all procreating. This makes it one of many kid-friendly hang-outs in the hood.

11. Advice from a Caterpillar

Our go-to shopping destination for all the best in children’s gear. This concept store features collections from some of Europe and Scandinavia’s best known children’s brands as wel as yet-to-be-discovered labels. The styling and curation of the actual boutique is inspired, therefore it’s hard to leave without buying a baby gift for a friend or something for your minis.

12. Casa Loma 

A majestic castle in midtown Toronto. How magical? The castle was built in the early 20th century, by a prominent Toronto financier, who built it for his wife. The castle now stands proudly as a museum and venue atop a hill looking down upon the cities humble servants. It is truly one of the cities most noteworthy hidden gems. Grab a coffee or snack at the cafe and wander the grounds, check out the stables or just sit by the fountains while your kids play medieval make-believe.

Family friendly Toroto guideCasa Loma

13. The Beaches 

It’s easy to forget that Toronto is on the water, if you spend your daily life (as we do) in midtown. Thanks to the beautiful Lake Ontario, we have a lakefront that stretches the length of the city and beyond. The Beaches is a neighbourhood to the far East of the city that is built around – you guessed it – a series of beaches. In the summer we bring some shovels/buckets and a beach blanket so our boys can play in the sand and splash around in the shallow water. Afterwards we always grab lunch at Tate’s Bakery – a chic and healthy cafe and bakery on Queen St East with comfortable booth seating and cheery interiors.

Things to do in Toronto with kidsThe Beaches

14. Konjiki Ramen

To get a true sense of the variety of cultural backgrounds and neighbourhoods in Toronto, you must venture beyond the city core. Konjiki Ramen is a Japanese transplant (a small Tokyo chain of restaurants with this one Toronto brick and mortar) located in a northern suburb of the city. Their ramen is more than worthy of the long subway ride.

WHERE TO STAY

Strolling the beaches, discovering musea or simply relaxing in the city park – there are plenty of things to do in Toronto with kids. Where to stay? Here are two family friendly hotels.

  • The Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville, a luxe neighbourhood full of high-end boutiques and eateries. This is also a great location on the subway line and easy access to downtown and uptown. Their indoor pool is always a hit with our swim-obsessed kids and in the warmer months, there is no better patio for people watching than Hazelton’s. The stylish restaurant is located on the main level of the hotel.The Hazelton also shows that eco and luxury can easily go hand in hand with its many eco-friendly practices. It has a green roof to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and urban island heat effect, one of the first among the city’s hotels. The restaurant qualifies as one of the best places to eat in Toronto. Chef Mark McEwan uses organic, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.

The Hazelton

  • The St Regis, Canada’s first SR property and a beautiful base to explore all that downtown has to offer. Their family programming is thoughtful and creative (our boys loved making their own Canadian-themes stuffed animals) and their rooftop restaurant is chic as can be with incredible city and lake views. The St Regis has a heart for sustainability and therefore offers several programs aiming to reduce our environmental footprint. Guests are given the options to forgo housekeeping and enjoy locally sourced food in the restaurant.

Family friendly Toronto guideSt Regis

WHERE TO SHOP

  • Narwhal Boutique – fashionable contemporary designer mom wear
  • 6 By Gee Beauty – vacation wardrobe and gifts
  • Mellah – Moroccan rug shop

Things to do in Toronto with kids6 By Gee Beauty 

WHERE TO EAT

  • Parallel – this is an amazing Israeli restaurant & Cafe in a random commercial zone at Dupont and Dufferin. Their homemade tahini (sesame butter) and pitas certainly make it worth the trek.
  • Dailo – a cool dining place!
  • Flock – a casual dine-in or take-out restaurant by one of the cities beloved chef’s, Cory Vitiello. Serving craveable rotisserie chicken and inventive salads.
  • Bar Isabel – a fashionable cafe on the College street strip serving up Basque favourites in an architecturally beautiful interior. Go for morning coffee and pastries followed by evening tapas and wine
  • Buca – with several locations around the city (each with a unique twist and menu) this is THE place for high-end Italian

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Coffee is a Toronto pastime and preoccupation – as the city is teeming with great cafes and baristas churning out steaming cups of goodness. Here are some of our faves:

  • East end: Hailed Coffee, Odin, The Rooster, Dineen Outpost
  • West end: Contra, Sam James, Creed’s, Milky’s, Tucana, Early Bird, Tokyo Smoke, Baddies
  • Midtown: Ezra’s Pound, Creed’s, Boxcar Social, Bar Central, Cafe Belong

Treats – there is no shortage of amazing and instagrammable places to get a sweet fix. Our kids love these spots for a special treat:

  • Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns
  • Bang bang for ice cream sammies
  • Sweet Jesus for crazy cones

Drinks –

  • Bar Raval
  • Pretty Ugly
  • Maison Selby

Family friendly Toronto guideRosen’s Cinnamon Buns

Today we interview TRVLBEES member, Reinier van der Aart –  a well-known portrait photographer – about his love of for France and their family travels in Paris and his work as a photographer of course.

Reinier has been married to Susi Sommer, www.susisommer.nl, since 2011. Susi, originally German, is a stylist and co-founder of www.yoki-store.com. Since 2013, Reinier and Susi are the proud parents of daughter Bess and they live in a converted clubhouse of a brass band in Weesp (The Netherlands).

family travels in paris

Your home is one of the most beautiful we have ever seen- and rumor has it you and your wife Susi love to travel to Paris to hunt for unique and special interior items…lucky you!

First of all, thanks for the compliment regarding our house! We are really happy here; it really is ‘home’ (after years of rebuilding…). And you are correct, some pieces in our house are Parisian, and we did go to Paris specifically to get them!

What’s the most romantic place in Paris in your opinion? Would you consider spending Valentine’s Day there?

Unfortunately, I won’t be sending you off to one spot. To me, the romance in Paris lies in the atmosphere in general and particularly in strolling about town with my wife and daughter, Bess. I equally enjoy an afternoon in Jardin du Luxembourg as I do lunch at Les Deux Magots, sharing a plate of French fries with my girls (yes, surrounded by other tourists…), a stroll along the Seine, early coffee somewhere in Le Marais or a magnificent bottle of red wine at Hotel du Nord.. Back at home we can be so busy, that just being with the three of us, anywhere in Paris is enough to make my heart overflow with gratitude.

I would definitely like to spend Valentine’s Day with my wife in Paris, once! And with Bess… haha, Bess is so fond of Paris, I doubt she’ll ever look at me again if I would take Susi and go without her…Alas, no Paris this year though… Too busy with work.

family travels in paris

And Paris with kids: what would you advise to be the very best (secret!) spot?  Does your daughter Bess agree, or does she have her own special place?

We always stay at Hotel du Temps. It is a sweet hotel on its own, but, for parents, the icing on the cake is a very nice public playground just across the street! So, every day starts with Bess-time, and when we come to the hotel to prepare for dinner, it’s Bess-time again. She really loves playgrounds, so it is always a treat to her to either go out or come ‘home’!
If you ask Bess for her favourite spot though, she’ll glow and say “chocolate mousse” at Chez Janou. The best in town or probably in the world…

What is Paris’ most photogenic spot? Do you always look at the city through a lens or can you leave work behind and just enjoy its beauty?

Well, in photography I do not look for a landmark, a building or a street. It is, again, the atmosphere. Wat does Paris feel like and can I capture what Paris does to us? To me, the photo of Bess and my wife on the Pont des Arts is all I want to bring home from Paris. I love the photo of Bess in the streets of Montmartre; she is so free, and so full of confidence. I think that Bess is so vibrant because we, Susi and I, feel so alive and at ease walking the streets of Paris; and that is what I want to capture.

family travels in paris

Parisians doing their thing, an unexpected reflection of sunlight and sometimes I might shoot the occasional Sacre Coeur if I see something there to portray as more than ‘just’ the famous building. And so yes, unfortunately, I always see ‘life through a lens’. There’s always a camera present.

As a hard-working father, you need a holiday sometimes! What is the best place to relax in France for you and your family? What made it such a great place to spend your holiday? What were your highlights and those of your daughter?

That’s a difficult question since we have hardly been on holiday the past few years! Due to rebuilding our home we had to prioritize and holiday/travel fell short. However, we have spent a week in Normandy with the family for a few years- ‘family’ meaning the larger variant: my mother, father, brother, his wife, my sister, her guy and 5 (now 6) nephews and nieces… so that proved to be a different kind of holiday… Great nonetheless! A cozy countryside-style cottage in Pitié with a huge backyard, cooking, games and building fires. Naturally, Bess loves being with her cousins for an entire week, playing, drawing and running around for no apparent reason.

Susi and I have always loved the south of France before we had Bess and started the rebuilding. My then brother-in-law had a family-apartment in La Croix Valmer, near St. Tropez, so all the good bits nearby, but no hassle or crowded tourism. Day trips to Ramatuelle, dining with your feet in the sand at La Salamandre, or just drinking slightly too much Grand Marnier while reminiscing, overviewing the bay on the tiny home-terrace. Another fond memory comes from Thonon-les-Bains (next to Evian), Lac Léman., with its small town customs, great food, evenings with our hosts’ friends on lovely roof terraces. The lake is mesmerizing, and Geneva is so close you can easily enjoy city-culture and nightlife if you want to.
But ever since Bess, France has mainly been Paris. And that suits Bess just fine!

family travels in paris

What do you wish to teach your little Bess during your family travels?

Of course we try to point out the beauty of different cities, surroundings, cultures… and Bess is quite visual, so she doesn’t need us to tell her that The Louvre is a building you should register. But she was still only 5 last time in Paris, so it’s not that we really take her to educate her on the ‘culture’. For us it is important that she enjoys all the time we have for each other and we enjoy that she is interested and actually looks at all the ‘new’ stuff around her. But it is a holiday after all… If she enjoys backflips in the playground more than the stairs of the Sacre-Coeur that is fine by us. It turned out that the kids-department of the Centre Pompidou could easily be beaten by blowing soap bubbles over Paris from the top floor of that same museum. So, we blew bubbles..


Do you have any hotels/villas in France (both in the areas you mentioned above and with kids) that should not be missed when spending the holidays there?

Here ‘I fall through the basket’ as the Dutch say. We spend our family-family weeks in Normandy in a house owned by friends of my parents, and when we stayed in La Croix Valmer it was always at the house of my sisters’ former boyfriend. In Thonon we were invited to stay at our friends’ house…so no recs here!  But in Paris: Hotel du Temps. Definitely!

TRVLBEES represents stylish, green, family-friendly hotels and villas: to what degree do you and Susi find these criteria important when booking a property or accommodation yourself?

Most important is that we want it to feel genuine and local. So that sort of rules out the worst accommodations related to style and sustainability. What we search for may not be our style, but if it feels genuine then that is perfect for a holiday in that country. Normally that leads to something small, family-owned and therefore mostly more sustainable than some huge holiday set up. You either shop your own groceries or it is a small served breakfast. No huge breakfast-buffets waiting to be thrown away shortly after 10am for us. Do note: we were once invited to a prime all-inclusive and we enjoyed the living daylight out of it! Very family friendly, very good food (way too much, but good), and very hospitable. So, thanks again mom and dad! Honestly! But we rather book a small local accommodation when we travel with the three of us, and yes, given a choice we will pick the more stylish variant.


We are absolutely mesmerized by your work… Please tell us your story!

Haha! That’s just too long of a story but the shortest shortcut I can make could sound like; I fell into photography whilst being on a very different trajectory in life. But it stuck. I just love to tell little stories and I love working with people. I love their stories and love to make the effort to actually try to grasp their lives, their stories, their accomplishments in the portrait that I make. (Whether that is a portrait of Damien Hirst, of Peter Lindberg or of the city of Napels… a single penguin in Simon’s town, a rained down horse, the life story of Michaela DePrince in a series of portraits, the adolescent children of a client… Or my wife and daughter on the Pont des Arts;) I could bore you for hours with the why and how of my work and how this career came to life, but I won’t!

family travels in paris

Do you ever turn down projects that are notably not committed to preserving our planet or have a negative impact on the environment? And, on the other hand, have you ever specifically chosen an assignment because of its dedication to sustainability or green agenda?

Well, this might disappoint you. If I were asked to shoot the board of Shell or would be given the opportunity to lens mr D. Trump I would not hesitate to do that while they are not the best specimens to guard our environment, and with whom I obviously disagree. But I do not have to agree with you in order to make a good portrait. However, I always have mr Arnold Newman’s portrait of Alfred Krupp in mind (you can look that one up)…

I do work for a couple of charities every year, on a ‘first come, first serve’ base. But given my body of work that is usually more in relation to people than to sustainability. I know that sustainability is for and by people (we often refer to sustainability in regard of saving the planet, but as I see it; this planet will survive. We just won’t.), but the visual content of sustainability is usually more of an earthly matter.

Some of the charities I worked for/with are The Red Cross, the foundation for metabolic diseases (mainly in children), the Queen Wilhelmina Foundation and their sub-division: fight cancer. But if Greenpeace is reading along: if they need a photographer for a project they can call me, free of charge (within reason, haha!).

Who else do you consider to be a TRVLBEE?

Haha, YOU Felicia!  And, of course, the obvious bloggers out there (Liesbeth Rasker! Unfortunately, no kids. But I would love to read from Jetteke van Lexmond. She travels for work, but also with her family, and I have a suspicion that she has a conscious mind.

Want to see the whole collection of family friendly hotels and hideaways? Check out our properties here!

More information about the work of Reinier van der Aart:

Interview by: Felicia da Costa

Imagine taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the parenting life, and enjoying a few days of relaxation and romance with your other half. Yes, it’s possible, and you deserve it! Surprise your Valentine with a romantic weekend away in Europe. To get you started, TRVLBEE Debby has selected her favorite Valentine’s Day hotels and hideaways, but don’t get her wrong, these romantic parent escapes in Europe are also great for a (city) trip with the kids.

1. Fazenda Nova | Algarve | Portugal

romantic weekend break Europe

Fazenda Nova is something that we like to call a place with a ‘soul.’ This lovely boutique country stay is set in the stunning Portuguese Algarve and houses ten beautifully decorated homes, an organic restaurant, and a salt water pool with gazebos amidst bamboo and olive trees. With typical white villages and the Algarve’s renowned beaches just around the corner, this place makes for a perfect romantic parent escape in Europe.

romantic weekend break Europe

The organic restaurant menu is one of Fazenda Nova’s many wonderful features. It changes daily, based on which delicious (fresh) products the chef finds at the local markets, and what is growing in Fazenda Nova’s own herb garden. Make sure to try some home-produced olive oil. After dinner, indulge in one of many delightful Portuguese wines (from the honesty bar), and admire the starry skies from the comfort of your private garden or patio.

 

2. Maison Bréguet | Paris | France

There is no better place to immerse yourself in romance than in the city of love. This small, yet stylish (modern) design hotel is located in the 11th arrondissement, a less touristy area of Paris that is rich with bistros, a market with local heritage food, and lovely boutique shops. We guarantee that you will find the romantic French authenticity you desire. If you do wish to partake in the hustle and bustle of Paris’ tourist hotspots, a walk along the Seine River will take you to Pont Neuf, the Notre Dame, and the Louvre Museum in no time. Another ideal romantic parent escape in Europe, if you ask us. 

parents escapes in europe paris maison breguet

Take a dip in the small indoor pool, enjoy the delicious a la carte breakfast, and indulge in a high-tea or that perfect late-night glass of champagne in the picturesque courtyard. This hotel offers you everything you need to make you feel at home, at rest, and in love in Paris. 

parent escapes in europe paris maison breguet

Romantic parent escape Maison Breguet is also home to renowned chef David Lanher’s new restaurant. Already successful in many other Parisian restaurants, this defender of bistro food favors the simplicity and elegance of fresh market produce and short-circuit sourcing.

parent escapes europe paris maison breguet

Just the little things! Replica products for in bath and a Nespresso machine are the great perks you get to enjoy in any room. Don’t forget to experience Paris by bike! Bicycles are available for rent through the concierge.

 

3. Das Stue | Berlin | Germany

parent escapes europe berlin das stu

Das Stue is a stylish yet tranquil homebase for you and your loved one; a place where you indulge in delicious food, enjoy some shopping, and discover the many astonishing cultural highlights Berlin has to offer. If you’re looking for a perfect hotel for a romantic parent escape Europe, this is the place to be.

romantic weekend break Europe

This former Royal Danish embassy turned luxury hotel, is ideal for a romantic weekend: gorgeously designed rooms, tasty breakfasts, a Michelin star restaurant, a 14-meter indoor pool, a Susanne Kaufmann Spa and the zoo – literally – next to your bed. But don’t worry, the animals won’t wake you up early, so a late sleep-in is guaranteed!

 

4. Masseria Salinola | Puglia | Italy

This destination is, simply said, a wonderful place to relax, enjoy the beach, sleep, eat, and visit some idyllic Italian villages. The old white farm ‘Salinola’, which dates back to the 18th-century, houses 10 romantic rooms and apartments equipped with every amenity essential for a perfect stay. They are each embellished with both modern and antique furniture, creating a perfect blend of contemporary design and traditional Italian authenticity. Daniel and his team made us feel extremely welcome during our romantic parent escape in Europe.

parent escapes europe puglia masseria salinola

What your day looks like? Travel along the remarkable coastline, while soaking in the views of a rural landscape rich with luscious olive trees. Masseria Salinola is located between the Trulli valley and Sallento. Back at your home away from home, you can take a dip in the pool, enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace, or relax in one of the many lounge areas on the estate. The atmosphere is simply enchanting; at night, you are surrounded by candles, while beautiful music is played in the background. Think sun, pool, and a light breeze, cozy interiors and corners, fireplaces, herbal teas, books, and delicious local dinners – in other words, everything to make you feel at home.

parent escapes in europe puglia masseria salinala

The delectable homemade breakfast and dinner served to you every day are quite memorable. All the fruit and vegetables on your plate come from the on-site organic farm. Masseria Salinola even produce their own olive oil. It’s a family-run operation, and every detail radiates careful and loving attention. A great place for a weekend with just the two of you.

 

5. São Lourenço Do Barrocal | Antelejo | Portugal

This picturesque farm houses 40 cozy rooms and cottages amid a breathtaking scenery of vineyards, olive groves, and holm oaks. A perfect place to escape from civilization and indulge in tranquil luxury. Spend your days taking a dip in the pool while marvelling at a Portuguese landscape, pampering yourself with a couples treatment at the opulent Susanne Kaufmann spa, discovering the idyllic surrounding villages by bike. 

Although there are countless things that are perfect about this stunning destination, we’ll name some of our favorites. You’ll love the simplistic, yet romantic design of your room and, more importantly, the remarkably tranquil vibe it emits. Tired of laying by the pool? São Lorenço assures that there are plenty of other activities for you to enjoy. Visit the traditional villages of Évora and Estremoz or go horse-riding past the Roman Dam. Spend the afternoon indulging in a romantic picnic, or opt for a vineyard tour and wine-tasting at the on-site winery.

End your day with a mouth-watering dinner in the breezy dining room, which offers a concise, yet versatile menu of dishes that are prepared with local, seasonal high-quality products, and the estate’s own wines, oils, olives, and vegetables.

This idyllic stay is located on the luscious island of Marbella. With its cozy, yet luxurious estate-style setup, it will truly become your home away from home as soon as you arrive. Despite being great for a family vacay, this is also a lovely destination for a romantic getaway. It offers all the amenities and services you need for some fun- or relaxation-filled couple time.

Enjoy the snug, but luminous interiors, soak in the sun or marvel at the breathtaking mountain views from the estate-garden, or opt for an outdoor fitness- or yoga session. Spend the afternoon in the old town of Marbella, or play a couples game of golf on one of 4 courses located just 5 minutes from Casa La Concha. If you ask us, plenty to do with the two of you.

Want to see more parent escapes and family friendly hotels and hideaways? Check out our other properties here!

Buckle up for the perfect family holiday in Greece and France, tipped by travelbee Mariangela’s.

perfect family holiday in Greece and France

Today, our TRVLBEES member, Mariangela Monti spills some of her favorite hotel tips for the perfect family holiday in Greece and France.

Milan-based Mariangela Monti is a stylish mother of two, writer, and passionate traveler. She is the creative and artistic mind behind the popular Italian blog Moms about Town. Are you ready to find the best pizza in Milan? Besides her family friendly hotel tips, she also gives us some invaluable tips on visiting Milan with kids. How about the best children’s fashion boutiques? Well buckle up, because Mariangela reveals all of that and more below!

perfect family holiday in Greece and FrancePool at Chateau Les Carrasses

You are a travel writer, which means that you must know about some pretty special places! What are some of your favorite family holiday spots in Greece and France?

I have two places that are near and dear to my heart because their design is gorgeous and the facilities they offer for kids and parents are excellent.

  • The first is Chateau Les Carrasses, a lovely family friendly boutique hotel located in a castle from the 17th century surrounded by vineyards in Languedoc, France. After undergoing a renovation, it is now an estate made of modern, cozy, and comfortable apartments that are perfect for families. The hotel allows guests to borrow bicycles and explore the quiet nearby trails and packs picnic baskets for their day adventures. The Chateau also has a beautiful infinity pool to relax in and a kid’s club.

Kid’s club at Chateau Les Carrases

  • The second is the Thalatta Seaside Hotel, which is secluded in the middle of the wilderness on Evia Island in Greece. It is boutique hotel and everything is within reach: the beach, the swimming pool, great restaurants, and very importantly, the kids club!

perfect family holiday in Greece and FranceThalatta Seaside Hotel

What does your dream family holiday look like?

Being on the road in Portugal – discovering new towns, chilling by the ocean, and eating good food. It’s on my bucket list!

If you could choose one place in the world to visit that you haven’t been to yet, where would it be — and why? 

Japan. Everybody says it is one of the most charming countries in the world and also very kid-friendly.

You live in Milan, where shopping and dining are serious business! Can you give us some advice on where to stay and what to do in the city with kids?

perfect family holiday in Greece and FranceCourtyard of the Four Seasons Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Milan is a nice family friendly hotel and has a lovely Sunday brunch for families. MUBA, the Milan Children’s Museum, has art exhibitions and performances for children. It also has an amazing bookstore and the museum bistro is perfect for lunch.

Kid’s breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel

Where can we find the best pizza in Milan, because, after all, we LOVE pizza (and so do our kids)?

Gino Sorbillo makes the best pizza in town and it is located right in the city center.

Let’s talk about fashion and interior design! What are your favorite boutiques for children?

  1. Le Civette sul comò, which has a showroom in the Porta Romana area of Milan and an online store, designs dream spaces for children. The products are exciting, attractive, environmentally friendly, and safe. Most of the items come from abroad; northern Europe in particular. The two mothers who started the project look for items that merge fun and furniture and are both practical and comfortable, and it shows!
  2. Mezzanotte Store has beautiful niche fashion brands for children. If you are looking for a one-stop shop
  3. La Renascent department store is also fantastic – you can find the best fashion brands for kids and parents, as well as good restaurants!

Can you describe your interior design style? 

A mix of old and new. Scandinavian design and pieces from Italian designers from the fifties.

Give us a glimpse into your household – what are your children like?

Olivia just turned 7 and she is a quiet and creative soul, who is in love with ballet and music. Her brother, Antonio, who is 6, is super lively! He is always on the move. His passion is football and he is a huge supporter of the Italian team Juventus. Since they are only one year apart, they play together a lot, but they also fight. Argh!

What is your absolute favorite part of being a mom? 

Watching my children grow into individuals, develop their own personalities and skills . . . that is the best part! I also love to watch them discover the world and witness new and beautiful things . . . which is why travelling with children is so important!

perfect family holiday in Greece and FranceMariangela and her kids

If you could take your children anywhere in the world, where would that be?

Southeast Asia: I truly love those countries and that’s where my husband asked me to marry him 8 years ago!

What is your traveling-with-kids must-have?

Medicine! We never leave home without it! Fevers and accidents are always around the corner when traveling with kids, and they can spoil a holiday quickly! We like to be prepared.

Moms About Town is an awesome resource for parents and has over 14k followers! How did you decide to start blogging?

A dear friend of mine suggested that I do it because she believed I had the potential to be a good storyteller. The blog was born when my kids were 2 and 1 years old, and I had just gone through what is the hardest time to be a mom, and I felt the need to share my thoughts about it – not in a melodramatic or serious way, but in an ironic way. Since I love to travel and get to know my city to the fullest, the blog soon became a place where I shared tips about what to do in Milan with kids and where to spend family holidays. My followers are moms who have many interests, love to travel, and go out with – and without – their children.

In addition to being an entrepreneur and blogger, you are also a travel writer. Tell us about your collaboration with Kidswear-Magazine.com.

I’ve been writing for Kidswear-magazine.com for a year now and I love it! I have a great relationship with the editors; they give me the freedom to write about places that inspire me. It is one of the best children’s magazines around!

In your blog, you mention using organic skin care products for children. Do you have a brand that you recommend? 

I love Linea MammaBaby. It is very mild and the products smell great. It is an Italian brand, founded in 2012, that was born out of a mother’s need to find delicate soap for her son’s very sensitive skin. Now they sell everything from soap to sunscreen, conditioner, oils, and after sun spray, and package it in colorful and creative way for children.

Interested to read more travel stories from travelbees? Click here!

Text by: Loren Braunohler